Young people in Moldova are more vulnerable comparing with their peers in European countries
• Young people in Moldova use injection drugs to a greater extent than their peers in European countries
Today's youth represent the first generation since the proclamation of Moldova's independence. And, for the first time in our country's history, represent the most numerous group: 26% of the country's population are now aged between 10 and 24 years. However, this positive demographic tendency will only last several years and will be followed by a new demographic decline, the UNICEF surveys show.
Among the problems faced by the youth are smoking, alcohol abuse, drug use, early sexual activity and, as a consequence, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.
Another challenge faced by the youth is access and the quality of education. One in five persons aged 18-24 years has not benefited from any educational program. This is prevalent for men (24%) and the youth in rural areas (31%). Only 11% of the young people aged 18-24 years have higher education. A university degree, however, is not a guarantee that they will have a job. The chosen profession is not always in demand on the labor market. As a result, the employment rate is much higher among the youth compared with the general population: only 27% of young people have a job.
While the progress achieved in reforming the health care system, it still doesn't fully meet the demands of the youth. The health services available to the youth are oriented towards diagnosis and treatment rather than towards vulnerability assessment, counseling and specific health referral services. As a result, only a half of the youths who had health problems over the last year consulted a doctor. The 12 youth-friendly clinics opened with UNICEF support and currently financed by the government are not enough and the most vulnerable teenagers do not have access to these institutions. Also, the clinics do not run programs to identify and attract young people from rural areas, from poor or incomplete families, those left without parental care or the young drug users.
As for the participation of the youth in the life of their communities, most of them say they do not know how to do it and, in general, are not encouraged to participate.
“Young people represent an very important force in any country, including the Republic of Moldova. But as strong as they are, the youths can be equally vulnerable. This is why we need to pay great attention to ensure respect for their rights. We wish to believe that the data we have released today will contribute to improve the youth policies, and the education and health services will become accessible to all the young people, and especially to the most vulnerable: those in rural areas, from poor families and with disabilities. These are exactly the youths who need the most support to become active citizens of this country”, mentioned the UNICEF Deputy Representative, Sandrine Blanchet.
“The Ministry of Youth is willing to further reform youth policies and adjust them to meet the current realities and the international standards”, said the head of Youth Programmes Department of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, Ion Donea. “At the same time, we count on the support of civil society and, first of all, on the support of the youth. We encourage young people to be active and get involved, because this is the only way to ensure the sustainability of our initiatives and reduce their dependence on the social and political developments”, stated Ion Donea.
The information presented today by UNICEF and the Ministry of Youth and Sport was selected from 4 national surveys: “The Youth in Moldova” (The National Bureau of Statistics), “Analysis of the Youth Situation in Moldova” (IDIS Viitorul), “Adolescents Health and Development in Republic of Moldova» (UNICEF and the Government of Moldova), “Assessment of Risk of HIV infection among most at risk adolescents” (Ministry of Health).
Today's event continues the series of activities organized by the Ministry of Youth in partnership with the UN Agencies in Moldova to mark the 2010 International Year of Youth, held under the theme “Our Year. Our Voice”.